Friday, September 25, 2015

Movie with Abe: Becoming Bulletproof

Becoming Bulletproof
Directed by Michael Barnett
Released September 25, 2015

Sometimes, the story behind a movie is just as interesting as the movie itself. That’s definitely the case with “Becoming Bulletproof,” a documentary that documents the process of making a Western called “Bulletproof.” The hook is that the film is made by Zeno Films, an organization comprised of actors and crew both disabled and not, all of whom get to work on a film together each year. This behind-the-scenes chronicle of the making of this film and the people involved in it is a heartwarming and extremely worthwhile look at a great organization and the exceptional work it does.

“Becoming Bulletproof” begins by showing one of its actors, A.J. Murray, at home. A.J. has cerebral palsy, and he describes the many struggles he has faced as a result of his condition over the course of his life. He also proclaims how lucky he is to have such a supportive family and to have been given many great opportunities along the way. Working with Zeno Films is cited as a defining and transformative experience, enabling him to achieve a dream of starring in a film and being treated just like anyone else.

Other actors with various conditions are introduced throughout the film as “Bulletproof” begins production. The methodology of pairing crew members without disabilities with each actor shows how the organization enables all of its cast and crew to work together to be part of a real movie. Everyone comes into the project with such a positive and wonderful attitude – all as unpaid volunteers – and it is rewarding and inspiring to see them overcome the limitations of their conditions to do their part and contribute to a unique and fantastic process.

What differentiates the film-within-a-film here from other projects Zeno Films has produced is that “Bulletproof” was designed to be a full-fledged movie that could make the film festival circuit, a graduation to a longer and more professional project than the already ambitious organization had previously made. The film has in fact been shown at festivals throughout the United States, and whether or not it has a bright and remembered future, it is clear that Zeno Films will continue to do terrific work. Their commitment to the players involved is remarkable, and this sweet, energizing snapshot of what they do makes for a great film and story in its own right.


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